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First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11

First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11 - Toby Harnden

First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11


This dramatic true story reveals the secret mission of the eight members of the CIA's Team Alpha, the first Americans to be dropped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan after 9/11.

America has been struck by Al-Qaeda on 9/11 and more than 3,000 people are dead. The country scrambles to respond but there is no U.S. military plan to topple the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden had safe haven to plan the attack. Instead, the CIA is chosen to spearhead the war.

Eight CIA operatives are dropped into the mountains of Afghanistan on October 17, 2001. They are Team Alpha, an eclectic band of linguists, tribal experts, and elite warriors: the first Americans behind enemy lines after 9/11. Their mission is to track down Al-Qaeda and prevent further attacks on America.

First Casualty drops you inside Team Alpha as they ride into battle on horseback alongside the fearsome Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum and the Green Berets. The Taliban is swiftly defeated, but Al-Qaeda hatches a "Trojan Horse" plot to reverse the American-led victory. Some 400 foreign fighters, many hiding weapons, stage a surrender and are taken to Qala-i Jangi--"the fort of war."

Mike Spann, an ex-Marine, and David Tyson, a former professor of Central Asian Studies, enter the 19th century mud citadel. It is the CIA's first opportunity to extract intelligence from men trained by bin Laden, among them an American, John Walker Lindh. Spann is killed in the opening moments of an uprising, America's first casualty on the battlefield in a global war that will last two decades. Tyson shoots dead the men who killed his comrade. Now, he has to fight his way out.

Award-winning author Toby Harnden draws on unprecedented access Team Alpha and every level of the CIA, more than 300 hours of interviews, extensive reporting in Afghanistan, and previously unseen classified documents. The result is an intimate and ground-breaking portrayal of the reality of a new war and the strategy behind it. First Casualty shows how America's early victory was a haunting foretelling: unreliable allies, warlord rivalries, prisoner abuse, suicide attacks, and errant U.S. bombs would fuel a forever war.

"Harnden skillfully interweaves dramatic action sequences with the backstories of the book's central figures, and briskly highlights the failures of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Readers will be swept up in this little-known chapter of America's 'forever war.'" -Publishers Weekly

An award winning journalist reveals the dramatic true story of the CIA's Team Alpha, the first Americans to be dropped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan after 9/11.

America is reeling; Al-Qaeda has struck and thousands are dead. The country scrambles to respond, but the Pentagon has no plan for Afghanistan--where Osama bin Laden masterminded the attack and is protected by the Taliban. Instead, the CIA steps forward to spearhead the war. Eight CIA officers are dropped into the mountains of northern Afghanistan on October 17, 2001. They are Team Alpha, an eclectic band of linguists, tribal experts, and elite warriors: the first Americans to operate inside Taliban territory. Their covert mission is to track down Al- Qaeda and stop the terrorists from infiltrating the United States again.

First Casualty places you with Team Alpha as the CIA rides into battle on horseback alongside the warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum. In Washington, DC, few trust that the CIA men, the Green Berets, and the Americans' outnumbered Afghan allies can prevail before winter sets in. On the ground, Team Alpha is undeterred. The Taliban is routed but hatches a plot with Al-Qaeda to hit back. Hundreds of suicidal fighters, many hiding weapons, fake a surrender and are transported to Qala-i Jangi--the "Fort of War."

Team Alpha's Mike Spann, an ex-Marine, and David Tyson, a polyglot former Central Asian studies academic, seize America's initial opportunity to extract intelligence from men trained by bin Laden--among them a young Muslim convert from California. The prisoners revolt and one CIA officer falls--the first casualty in America's longest war, which will last two decades. The other CIA man shoots dead the Al-Qaeda jihadists attacking his comrade. To survive, he must fight his way out against overwhelming odds.

Award-winning author Toby Harnden gained unprecedented access to all living Team Alpha members and every level of the CIA. Superbly researched, First Casualty draws on extensive interviews, secret documents, and deep reporting inside Afghanistan. As gripping as any adventure novel, yet intimate and profoundly moving, it tells how America found a winning strategy only to abandon it. Harnden reveals that the lessons of early victory and the haunting foretelling it contained--unreliable allies, ethnic rivalries, suicide attacks, and errant US bombs--were ignored, tragically fueling a twenty-year conflict.

"Harnden skillfully interweaves dramatic action sequences with the backstories of the book's central figures, and briskly highlights the failures of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Readers will be swept up in this little-known chapter of America's 'forever war.'" -Publishers Weekly

An award winning journalist reveals the dramatic true story of the CIA's Team Alpha, the first Americans to be dropped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan after 9/11.

America is reeling; Al-Qaeda has struck and thousands are dead. The country scrambles to respond, but the Pentagon has no plan for Afghanistan--where Osama bin Laden masterminded the attack and is protected by the Taliban. Instead, the CIA steps forward to spearhead the war. Eight CIA officers are dropped into the mountains of northern Afghanistan on October 17, 2001. They are Team Alpha, an eclectic band of linguists, tribal experts, and elite warriors: the first Americans to operate inside Taliban territory. Their covert mission is to track down Al- Qaeda and stop the terrorists from infiltrating the United States again.

First Casualty places you with Team Alpha as the CIA rides into battle on horseback alongside the warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum. In Washington, DC, few trust that the CIA men, the Green Berets, and the Americans' outnumbered Afghan allies can prevail before winter sets in. On the ground, Team Alpha is undeterred. The Taliban is routed but hatches a plot with Al-Qaeda to hit back. Hundreds of suicidal fighters, many hiding weapons, fake a surrender and are transported to Qala-i Jangi--the "Fort of War."

Team Alpha's Mike Spann, an ex-Marine, and David Tyson, a polyglot former Central Asian studies academic, seize America's initial opportunity to extract intelligence from men trained by bin Laden--among them a young Muslim convert from California. The prisoners revolt and one CIA officer falls--the first casualty in America's longest war, which will last two decades. The other CIA man shoots dead the Al-Qaeda jihadists attacking his comrade. To survive, he must fight his way out against overwhelming odds.

Award-winning author Toby Harnden gained unprecedented access to all living Team Alpha members and every level of the CIA. Superbly researched, First Casualty draws on extensive interviews, secret documents, and deep reporting inside Afghanistan. As gripping as any adventure novel, yet intimate and profoundly moving, it tells how America found a winning strategy only to abandon it. Harnden reveals that the lessons of early victory and the haunting foretelling it contained--unreliable allies, ethnic rivalries, suicide attacks, and errant US bombs--were ignored, tragically fueling a twenty-year conflict.

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This dramatic true story reveals the secret mission of the eight members of the CIA's Team Alpha, the first Americans to be dropped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan after 9/11.

America has been struck by Al-Qaeda on 9/11 and more than 3,000 people are dead. The country scrambles to respond but there is no U.S. military plan to topple the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden had safe haven to plan the attack. Instead, the CIA is chosen to spearhead the war.

Eight CIA operatives are dropped into the mountains of Afghanistan on October 17, 2001. They are Team Alpha, an eclectic band of linguists, tribal experts, and elite warriors: the first Americans behind enemy lines after 9/11. Their mission is to track down Al-Qaeda and prevent further attacks on America.

First Casualty drops you inside Team Alpha as they ride into battle on horseback alongside the fearsome Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum and the Green Berets. The Taliban is swiftly defeated, but Al-Qaeda hatches a "Trojan Horse" plot to reverse the American-led victory. Some 400 foreign fighters, many hiding weapons, stage a surrender and are taken to Qala-i Jangi--"the fort of war."

Mike Spann, an ex-Marine, and David Tyson, a former professor of Central Asian Studies, enter the 19th century mud citadel. It is the CIA's first opportunity to extract intelligence from men trained by bin Laden, among them an American, John Walker Lindh. Spann is killed in the opening moments of an uprising, America's first casualty on the battlefield in a global war that will last two decades. Tyson shoots dead the men who killed his comrade. Now, he has to fight his way out.

Award-winning author Toby Harnden draws on unprecedented access Team Alpha and every level of the CIA, more than 300 hours of interviews, extensive reporting in Afghanistan, and previously unseen classified documents. The result is an intimate and ground-breaking portrayal of the reality of a new war and the strategy behind it. First Casualty shows how America's early victory was a haunting foretelling: unreliable allies, warlord rivalries, prisoner abuse, suicide attacks, and errant U.S. bombs would fuel a forever war.

"Harnden skillfully interweaves dramatic action sequences with the backstories of the book's central figures, and briskly highlights the failures of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Readers will be swept up in this little-known chapter of America's 'forever war.'" -Publishers Weekly

An award winning journalist reveals the dramatic true story of the CIA's Team Alpha, the first Americans to be dropped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan after 9/11.

America is reeling; Al-Qaeda has struck and thousands are dead. The country scrambles to respond, but the Pentagon has no plan for Afghanistan--where Osama bin Laden masterminded the attack and is protected by the Taliban. Instead, the CIA steps forward to spearhead the war. Eight CIA officers are dropped into the mountains of northern Afghanistan on October 17, 2001. They are Team Alpha, an eclectic band of linguists, tribal experts, and elite warriors: the first Americans to operate inside Taliban territory. Their covert mission is to track down Al- Qaeda and stop the terrorists from infiltrating the United States again.

First Casualty places you with Team Alpha as the CIA rides into battle on horseback alongside the warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum. In Washington, DC, few trust that the CIA men, the Green Berets, and the Americans' outnumbered Afghan allies can prevail before winter sets in. On the ground, Team Alpha is undeterred. The Taliban is routed but hatches a plot with Al-Qaeda to hit back. Hundreds of suicidal fighters, many hiding weapons, fake a surrender and are transported to Qala-i Jangi--the "Fort of War."

Team Alpha's Mike Spann, an ex-Marine, and David Tyson, a polyglot former Central Asian studies academic, seize America's initial opportunity to extract intelligence from men trained by bin Laden--among them a young Muslim convert from California. The prisoners revolt and one CIA officer falls--the first casualty in America's longest war, which will last two decades. The other CIA man shoots dead the Al-Qaeda jihadists attacking his comrade. To survive, he must fight his way out against overwhelming odds.

Award-winning author Toby Harnden gained unprecedented access to all living Team Alpha members and every level of the CIA. Superbly researched, First Casualty draws on extensive interviews, secret documents, and deep reporting inside Afghanistan. As gripping as any adventure novel, yet intimate and profoundly moving, it tells how America found a winning strategy only to abandon it. Harnden reveals that the lessons of early victory and the haunting foretelling it contained--unreliable allies, ethnic rivalries, suicide attacks, and errant US bombs--were ignored, tragically fueling a twenty-year conflict.

"Harnden skillfully interweaves dramatic action sequences with the backstories of the book's central figures, and briskly highlights the failures of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Readers will be swept up in this little-known chapter of America's 'forever war.'" -Publishers Weekly

An award winning journalist reveals the dramatic true story of the CIA's Team Alpha, the first Americans to be dropped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan after 9/11.

America is reeling; Al-Qaeda has struck and thousands are dead. The country scrambles to respond, but the Pentagon has no plan for Afghanistan--where Osama bin Laden masterminded the attack and is protected by the Taliban. Instead, the CIA steps forward to spearhead the war. Eight CIA officers are dropped into the mountains of northern Afghanistan on October 17, 2001. They are Team Alpha, an eclectic band of linguists, tribal experts, and elite warriors: the first Americans to operate inside Taliban territory. Their covert mission is to track down Al- Qaeda and stop the terrorists from infiltrating the United States again.

First Casualty places you with Team Alpha as the CIA rides into battle on horseback alongside the warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum. In Washington, DC, few trust that the CIA men, the Green Berets, and the Americans' outnumbered Afghan allies can prevail before winter sets in. On the ground, Team Alpha is undeterred. The Taliban is routed but hatches a plot with Al-Qaeda to hit back. Hundreds of suicidal fighters, many hiding weapons, fake a surrender and are transported to Qala-i Jangi--the "Fort of War."

Team Alpha's Mike Spann, an ex-Marine, and David Tyson, a polyglot former Central Asian studies academic, seize America's initial opportunity to extract intelligence from men trained by bin Laden--among them a young Muslim convert from California. The prisoners revolt and one CIA officer falls--the first casualty in America's longest war, which will last two decades. The other CIA man shoots dead the Al-Qaeda jihadists attacking his comrade. To survive, he must fight his way out against overwhelming odds.

Award-winning author Toby Harnden gained unprecedented access to all living Team Alpha members and every level of the CIA. Superbly researched, First Casualty draws on extensive interviews, secret documents, and deep reporting inside Afghanistan. As gripping as any adventure novel, yet intimate and profoundly moving, it tells how America found a winning strategy only to abandon it. Harnden reveals that the lessons of early victory and the haunting foretelling it contained--unreliable allies, ethnic rivalries, suicide attacks, and errant US bombs--were ignored, tragically fueling a twenty-year conflict.

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